Nina Thompson: Climate Gloom

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YR Media’s Nina Thompson worries that climate gloom spells climate doom.

Thinking about the future can be difficult, especially as a young person. But now, I’m told that I might not have that future at all, and I don’t have much control over that outcome.

Climate change should be scary. It has caused significant damage already, and that will continue to get worse. The average temperature in the United States keeps rising. And Environmental Protection Agency stats show that 2011 to 2020 was the warmest decade on record. This has dramatically increased the intensity and frequency of natural disasters and extreme weather.

Usually, seeing tragic outcomes would make me feel motivated to make change, but sometimes I feel the opposite. When I think about the world in 20 or 30 years, I can’t help but think of a practically uninhabitable climate, and I know that nothing I do alone can completely fix the issue. Social media seems to be telling me that climate change will soon ruin the world, and the government and corporations won’t do anything about it.

There is truth to those statements, but it is more complicated than that. The combination of immense guilt these messages spread — along with hopelessness — is dangerous. If people believe that there is nothing that the general public can do to save the future, there is little motivation to try to do anything.

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Although we are past the point of no return for certain harmful effects of climate change, there is hope. It has been difficult to pass climate change legislation at the federal level, but there has been a lot of progress. The price of renewable energy has significantly decreased in recent years, and in 2021, 20% of the energy used in the U.S. was renewable.

With a shift in mentality, it is easier to take action, like volunteering, researching and educating peers. Younger generations especially need to fight for a better future and to do that, a better future needs to feel attainable.

With a Perspective, I’m Nina Thompson.

Nina Thompson is 16 years old and lives in Berkeley. Her Perspective was produced by YR Media.